Elina Svitolina is a Ukrainian professional tennis player who became the first Ukrainian woman to break into the WTA Top 5 rankings and has won multiple titles on the WTA Tour.
Name: Elina Svitolina
Born: September 12, 1994
Turned Pro: 2010
Elina Svitolina was born in Odessa, Ukraine and began playing tennis at the age of five. Her family moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine when she was 13, after she found a sponsor for her tennis training. She began playing in ITF events in 2008, and won the French Open girls event in 2010. She would go on to win two titles on the ITF Circuit in 2011 but fail to qualify for any WTA-level events.
Svitolina’s WTA main-draw debut occurred at the 2012 Baku Cup, where she fell in the first round. She qualified for the 2102 US Open, but lost in the opening round to 12th seed Ana Ivanovic. However, she did win the WTA 125K Royal Indian Open in Pune, defeating former top 10 player Andrea Petkovic en route to the title.
Svitolina won her first WTA title at the 2013 Baku Cup, defeating Israeli Shahar Peer in the final. She reached the second round at the French Open and US Open, and finished the year ranked World No.40. The Ukrainian would go on to reach the third round of the 2014 Australian Open, losing to Sloane Stephens. She successfully defended her Baku Cup trophy, and upset Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the Western & Southern Open. She reached her first Premier-5 semifinal at the 2014 Wuhan Open, losing to Kvitova in straight sets. Svitolina finished the season inside the Top 30, ranked World No.29.
Svitolina would begin the 2015 season with a semifinal showing at the Brisbane International, losing to Maria Sharapova. She reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. However, she won her first title on clay at the Marrakech Open, rising to a career-high ranking of World No.21. She would go on to make her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, losing to seventh seed Ana Ivanovic. Her ranking would rise to World No.17 after this tournament, becoming the highest-ranked woman in the Open Era. This was followed by semifinal runs in Stanford and Cincinnati, losing to Kerber and Williams respectively. Svitolina ended her season with a semifinal appearance at the WTA Elite Trophy, finishing the year ranked World No.19.
Svitolina would have her second Top 20 season in 2016, highlighted by a title win at the Malaysian Open. She would finish runner-up twice, at New Haven (l. to Radwanska) and Zhuhai (l. to Kvitova). She would also have four semifinal appearances, at Dubai (l. to Errani), Tokyo (l. to Osaka), Beijing (l. to Radwanska) and Moscow (l. to Kuznetsova). The Ukrainian would compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics but lose in the quarterfinals to eventual bronze medalist Kvitova. However, she did manage to secure her first win over defending champion Serena Williams in the third round.
Svitolina would reach the third round of the 2016 US Open, again losing to Kvitova. She would end the year with a runner-up showing at the WTA Elite Trophy, losing to Kvitova. She finished the season ranked World No.14, a new career-high.
Svitolina would win five titles in 2017, with three of them coming at Premier-5 level events. She won titles at Taipei City (d. Peng), Dubai (d. Wozniacki), Istanbul (d. Mertens), Rome (d. Halep) and Toronto (d. Wozniacki). She would break into the WTA Top 10 for the first time, becoming the first Ukrainian woman to achieve this in the Open Era. Svitolina would also reach the quarterfinals at the French Open, losing to Simona Halep in three sets. This was followed by fourth round appearances at both Wimbledon and the US Open. She would make her debut at the year-ending WTA Finals, but fail to advance to the knockout stage. She ended the year ranked at World No.6.
Svitolina won four WTA titles in 2018, at Brisbane (d. Sasnovich), Dubai (d. Kasatkina), Rome (d. Halep) and WTA Finals (d. Stephens). She would be upset in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, losing to Belgian Elise Mertens in straight sets. Although she was able to successfully defend both her titles at Dubai and Rome, she lost in the third round of Roland Garros. She suffered a first round loss at Wimbledon, and reached the fourth round of the US Open for the second consecutive year. Svitolina was able to qualify for the year-ending WTA Finals, where she won all three of her round-robin matches. She then defeated Kiki Bertens in the semifinal, before coming from a set down to beat Sloane Stephens in the final. This saw her claim the biggest title of her career, and she ended the year ranked at World No.4.
Svitolina would enter the 2019 Australian Open as the sixth seed, but lose to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals. She then reached back-to-back semifinals in Doha (l. to Halep) and Dubai (l. to Bencic). She would make her third consecutive semifinal of the season at Indian Wells, losing to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu. Following a third round loss at the French Open, she would reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. There, she would be defeated by eventual champion Simona Halep in straight sets. The North American hard-court season saw her reach the quarterfinals in San Jose and Toronto. Seeded fifth at the US Open, she would make the semifinals but lose to Serena Williams in straight sets. Subsequently, her ranking returned to her career-high of World No.3. She would end the year as the eighth seed at the WTA finals, where she won all her round-robin matches to top her group. She defeated Belinda Bencic in the semifinal to reach the final for the second straight year. However, she was unable to defend her title, losing to Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. She finished 2019 ranked at World No.6, and failed to win a title during the year for the first time since the 2012 season.
Svitolina struggled to start the 2020 season, suffering early round losses at both Dubai and Doha. However, she rebounded to capture her 14th career WTA singles title at the Monterrey Open, defeating Czech Marie Bouzkova in the final.
Svitolina is multilingual, being fluent in English, Russian and some French. Her tennis idol growing up was Andre Agassi, and one of the people she most admired was the late NBA great Kobe Bryant. She has been in a relationship with ATP professional Gael Monfils since 2019, and is a fan of Eminem.